Improving Posture for Anti-Aging with Dr. Steven Weiniger: Rational Wellness Podcast 055
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Improving your posture is an anti-aging strategy with Dr. Steven Weiniger, who is interviewed by Dr. Ben Weitz.
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3:49 Dr. Weiniger talks about some of the negative consequences of poor or weak posture, including neck and back pain.
8:32 The key to posture is taking a picture of yourself and drawing lines and measuring how you stack up. Then make some changes and next year take another picture and see if you have changed.
9:22 The invention of the smart phone on top of the computer now has led to about 90% of people in the US having weak, folded posture being bent over with rounded shoulders and forwards head. This is an epidemic in our society that is getting worse.
10:22 I pointed out that the more time people spend on social media, the more lonely they get, which increases their risk of chronic diseases and early death.
13:00 We talked about Dr. Weiniger’s PostureZone app that allows you to take a picture and measure where their head, torso and pelvis is in space over where they are standing. Those are the four posture zones and the Posturezone app lets you measure the degrees of deviation from vertical of the poor posture zone. This app both lets people become aware of their posture and allows professionals to measure posture and generate reports showing changes over time before and after treatment.
23:20 Dr. Weiniger explained how we go about constructing an exercise program to improve posture with his strong posture protocols. He also mentioned that chiropractic manipulation is very important in helping to improve posture, as is proper nutrition.
Dr. Steven Weiniger is a Doctor of Chiropractic with a specialty in posture analysis and correction. Dr. Weiniger is an author, speaker, and internationally recognized posture expert https://www.bodyzone.com/posture-expert/ Dr. Weiniger has written Stand Taller Live Longer: An Anti-Aging Strategy available through Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stand-taller-live-longer-steven-weiniger/1009154991?ean=9780979713606 and Posture Principles-–5 Principles of Posture.
Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111.
Dr. Weitz: This is Dr. Ben Weitz, with the Rational Wellness Podcast, bringing you the cutting edge information on health and nutrition from the latest scientific research and by interviewing the top experts in the field. Please subscribe to Rational Wellness podcast on iTunes and YouTube, and sign up for my free ebook on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health.
Hey Rational Wellness podcasters, thank you so much for joining me again today. We’re going to talk about posture again and it’s such an important topic because it affects so many factors in our overall health. And as a chiropractor, I constantly see patients every day who come into the office and they say, “Doc, why does my back hurt? Why does my neck hurt? I didn’t lift anything, I didn’t do anything.” And so, in so many of these cases, posture is the unthought of, underlying cause and as somebody who’s into functional medicine, I always believe in trying to get to the root cause of problems. And the same thing for chiropractic, we can’t just correct your neck and back pain with a drug that’s gonna relieve the pain, we’ve gotta try to get to the underlying cause. And I personally have found that poor, bad, inefficient posture is a major factor, in not only the cause of their pain but also in your inability to heal properly from the pain. And the fact that, the pain is likely to come back.
By the way, all of you who enjoy the Rational Wellness podcast, please go to iTunes, or wherever you get your podcast and leave us a rating and a review. That will allow more people to find the Rational Wellness podcast. And so, our special guest for today is Dr. Steven Weiniger. Steve is a posture expert, he’s the author of Stand Taller, Live Longer, a tremendous book, the creator of the CPEP training program for professionals, helping people check their own posture with his PostureZone app that you can get on your phone, and he’s the chief posture evangelist of May. And May is posture month, and he’s the head of the posture month organization. Anyways, Steve, thanks so much for joining me today.
Dr. Weiniger: Ben, thanks. Thanks for having me, I appreciate it. And the chief posture evangelist label came when we decided to do a public health initiative for a CPEP, Certified Posture Expert Professionals, and the label …
Dr. Weitz: Hallelujah!
Dr. Weiniger: Because basically, I’m going around and I’m talking to media. It was just a really cool thing that came out on CBS yesterday. We’ve been with them talking about posturing. I feel like I’m evangelizing. I’m cured. I’ve not been doing evangelical work, but it’s true because people … It’s something everyone knows about, but people don’t stop and really look at. And my job becomes making people talk about it and that’s why we’ve expanded posture month to not just CPEPS, but to anyone that’s worked with posture to be able to take a picture or to offer the public a picture of their posture to create awareness of what their posture looks like, because it affects your health in a tremendous way.
Dr. Weitz: Cool. Can you tell us, what are some of the negative consequences of somebody having poor posture or inefficient posture?
Dr. Weiniger: Well, there’s two sides to it. One is the health consequences and the other is the personal consequences. Beginning with the health that is one that’s most important even though it may not be the one that’s the most emphasized. It effects back pain and neck pain tremendously. A recent study found that 89 percent of primary care physicians, considered posture to be one of the primary causes of back and neck pain, which is not surprising because your body is not aligned, it puts more mechanical stress on your joints. Especially if you’re living on that all the time. But there’s other issues as well, because when your body is folded, it can affect how well you can breathe. It affects how different organs’ work and things like this don’t occur quickly, but especially if you want to get to the root core of the problems, if someone’s living with their body folded and they can’t take a deep breath … There’s been a lot of research that shows that breathing is really important for your health. If you don’t breathe, bad things happen.
Dr. Weitz: And it’s important to breathe that way as I’ve learned, because I was always a mouth breather and recently, in the last six months, learned how to breathe through my nose with a help of a breathing professional. It makes a huge difference.
Dr. Weiniger: And there are breathing professionals that work with posture as well, because it’s not just a reflex thing, when your head goes forward of your torso, it changes the muscle relationship in the front of your neck going to the mandible, the jaw bone. That effects the opening for the air coming down into the lungs. It’s easier to breathe with the chest than it is to breathe with the abdomen or the diaphragm. And once you’ve developed that habit, it becomes like any habit. It’s easier to move that way. Try this. Press your fingers like this. Look at which fingers are on top, the left one or the right one?
Dr. Weitz: Which one’s on top?
Dr. Weiniger: Yeah, when you’re looking at your thumb, which thumb is on top?
Dr. Weitz: Oh, the right one.
Dr. Weiniger: Okay, cross it the other way. Put the left one on top. If I asked you to cross your hands, things like this, a thousand times, how often would you do it this way? Most people … If you worked with it your good. Most people I would do this, would find that …
Dr. Weitz: Well, you see I play golf. So, actually this is my normal golf grip.
Dr. Weiniger: In that case you’re not using it. But most people that do that, find that …
Dr. Weitz: My wife is always reminding me that I’m not normal.
Dr. Weiniger: No, you’re better than normal. You pay attention to your body. That’s the point. Once your body learns to move in a pattern, you keep on moving that way without thinking about it. And that stresses some muscles, stresses other ligaments and your body literally folds into that pattern. You think your moving one way, but a camera proves that you’re not moving that way and that’s why taking a picture so that you can see how you’re standing when you think you’re standing tall is one of the first ques to building posture awareness.
Dr. Weitz: So, since you brought that up, how do people become aware that they have bad posture. Is it simply because they have neck pain and they go to a chiropractor and that chiropractor tells them they have bad posture?
Dr. Weiniger: I really don’t like the phrase bad posture. Because no one’s posture … Unless someone’s body is perfect, their posture is not gonna be perfect. Your posture is bad if you’re having some symptoms from it and that’s for certain. But even if you might have symptoms …
Dr. Weitz: How about if we call it inefficient posture? ‘Cause isn’t the key to posture, resisting gravity, and we can’t resist efficiently if we have a certain posture?
Dr. Weiniger: Inefficient is a good way to look at it, especially from a sports point of view. The way that we talk about it would be what is weak posture. Because if your posture is inefficient your body is gonna be weak and it’s not about as being as strong as the strongest person in the world, or as tall as the tallest person in the world because that’s probably not most of our genetics. It’s about being as tall as your body should be, as strong as your body should be for what you’re doing. If you’re working your body inefficiently, your body is gonna get better movement inefficiently and that makes problems. So, the key to posture is just taking a picture of yourself and measuring. Not making a pathology of it, not making it bad, not making it a problem, but it make it just, when I’m trying to stand tall, this is what I look like. And looking at it, and then coming back next year and comparing it again and measuring your body as something your aware of. If you see your body folding from your one to two to three, if you look more and more like an old person, you’re gonna start feeling like an old person and having pains like an old person before you should be.
Dr. Weitz: So Let’s say we call good posture optimal posture. Right?
Dr. Weiniger: How about strong posture?
Dr. Weitz: Okay, so, let’s say we call it strong posture. Can you say approximately what percentage of the population has weak posture?
Dr. Weiniger: In our world …
Dr. Weitz: Yes.
Dr. Weiniger: There’s been this great invention that I don’t know that it was made by chiropractors, but if you wanted to invent something to have a device that you could put in front of people and then have them spend half their day hunched over with this over rounded forward typing on something, you’d have a hard time advising that business model, but it’s been great for chiropractors because we end up seeing and helping so many people walking around in pain. In our society, I’d say 90 percent are walking around with posture problems. One thing that I’ve noticed is when I travel, I’ll see families with kids, and sometimes the little girl looks like mom and the boy looks like dad, and usually when I used to see people like this, the kids had good upright erect posture and the parents were a bit more slumped forward in general. Now, the kids look worse than the parents. This is an epidemic going on in our society, and it’s getting worse.
Dr. Weitz: So, this is negative health consequence of cellphones, on top of so many other health consequences. I was just listening to another podcast on my way in here and they were talking about how loneliness is a parameter that increases your risk of early death and chronic diseases. The more people spend on social media, the more lonely they get. So you spend all this time interacting with other people, but not in a real way so, you end up decreasing your health as a result of that.
Dr. Weiniger: And that’s a … I completely agree with that perspective. One of the things of that is, people spend a lot of time trying to curate the perfect image on social media so that they look really good. And when they then compare themselves to other people that look better, it becomes a competition of how well can I artificially make myself look good and if they compare themselves to other people. And it’s like a world full of barbies of people shaped in ways that no human being is shaped. Whereas if you and I are sitting together and we’re being comfortable and we’re opening up to each other, that’s a different kind of friendship than occurs online.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah. That creates this unrealistic body image that people have when they see these people on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and stuff, having these ridiculous looking bodies and they feel all worse about their own because they know nobody can look like that and those are not real images, unfortunately.
Dr. Weiniger: And one thing that I’ve become more aware of personally is the old custom of breaking bread with people, we don’t talk about that, but when you sit down and you eat with somebody, it’s a more intimate thing where … People don’t show videos of themselves eating, they show videos of the meal because I can curate it, I can make it look right. I can put the glass to the left of it. I can arrange the silverware so it looks like the food they get are perfection. Whereas a video of somebody chomping away at something, that doesn’t look so good because that’s a more openness of how people truly are. And when you sit down and have a meal with someone, if you like them, that’s when you come away and you say, “We can have breakfast together. We can have dinner together.” The saying a long time ago was people breaking bread.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah, interesting. So, how’s … Tell me about your app that lets people be able to take a picture and get a better since of how good or how strong or weak their posture is.
Dr. Weiniger: Posturezone app is a free app that’s on iPhone, iPad, and Android. And it’s a way for everybody to take a picture of themselves and measure where their head, where their torso, and where their pelvis is in space over where they’re standing. Those are the four posture zones. And it’s not about trying to pathologies something with this is normal and this is not normal. I mean, if somebody is five foot five for male, and the normal population is 5’7 to six feet, does that mean that person that is 5 foot five is abnormal? Of course not. It means that’s the way that person is and there’s a population demographic. Normal means different things. You don’t want to confuse a normal population demographic with normal for that individual.
If someone’s 5’5, if they’re standing tall, they can have strong posture. If someone’s six feet and they’re slumped over down to five foot ten, they’ve got horrible posture. So it’s not about being tall, it’s about standing taller. So that’s the direction of that is aligning your head over your torso, over your pelvis, over where you’re standing. The more those four posture zones are vertically aligned, in a line, the taller the whole system is. The taller the person is. The more the person is flexing forward, the shorter they are, and what the Posturezone app does lets you measure the degrees of deviation from vertical of the poor posture zone.
Dr. Weitz: Do you have it on your phone right now? Can you show us real quick how that works?
Dr. Weiniger: Sure. I can show you on my phone. If this …
Dr. Weitz: So this is an app. It starts out as a free app and then there’s advanced features that you can purchase on … You can put it on your phone, your iPad.
Dr. Weiniger: You can put it on your phone, iPad. It’s 29 dollars for the pro version, which is for professionals. If you’re a professional watching this, you want the pro version ’cause it will let you take a comparison picture of somebody and compare it in a report over time. If you’re a regular user, the app will let you take pictures over time and compare them. You can just flip back and forth and look at your pictures and you can see the number, but you can’t create a report and you can’t keep things in tables to work with people. [inaudible 00:15:52] designed to give the consumer or the health enthusiast the ability to check their own posture and posture of friends, but if you’re doing it professionally, it cost 29 bucks, but it’s a one time thing. It’s not an all the time thing. The reporting is again, of the angles of deviation. It’s not saying this is normal, this is not normal. That’s like a fear based marketing thing that I don’t care for.
Dr. Weitz: Hey … You ever done a study to validate this? Maybe with patients after whiplash?
Dr. Weiniger: Working on it.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Weiniger: There’s a couple that are working on things that are working on exactly and there’s been other studies that have been done that point to the lack of validation of some other things that a lot of people talk about and that the most promising way of recepting posture is the head, torso, and pelvis over the gravity line, which is exactly what we do. Dolphins did a really nice study of that and that was the only thing that correlated with back pain. There are things like high shoulder or a high hip, really didn’t correlate though, it’s just … Over mechanical, as you put inefficiently, the more everything expands out, the more efficient mechanical advantage there’s gonna be but less energy is spilling, the less strain there is on muscles and joints.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. Go ahead.
Dr. Weiniger: So if you wanted to take a look at it, this is … My office is a mess, but if you … Don’t look at …
Dr. Weitz: You gotta hold it … Right there, good. Okay.
Dr. Weiniger: So basically … Oh, I’ve got a great idea. Don’t go away.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, you gonna bring somebody in to help demonstrate it?
Dr. Weiniger: I’m gonna bring Harry in.
Dr. Weitz: Okay. Hi Harry.
Dr. Weiniger: Harry is my posture [inaudible 00:17:38]. Okay we’re gonna see if we can do this. So basically, you want to take a picture and notice when I rotate this back and forth, the line turns green.
Dr. Weitz: Okay.
Dr. Weiniger: In the middle. When the lines green, it’s level. Since my screen is not level, this is gonna be a weird picture, but if I put Harry between those two lines, I can bracket him between those two lines and I’ve got a grid in the background that if I were smart, I’d have it setup where I could show you that grid, but that’s not today. That’s not gonna happen today.
Dr. Weitz: That’s okay.
Dr. Weiniger: Professionals will need the grid and if I took a picture of Harry, and this is not gonna be nearly level ’cause I’m not that coordinated, but if I can take a picture of Harry. Did we get it? I got it. Good, this is far from perfect, but I can then take … You don’t need to see this, but I need to set it up for side view or front view, I can take a side view. I can then move the brackets to bracket the head over the torso over the pelvis over where the feet are standing. And this is not well placed cause I can’t do this sideways very well, but I can then check that and it will measure the degrees of deviation the head over the feet, the torso over the feet, and the pelvis over the feet.
So just measuring how the body is balancing and what the body is going to be vertical. And this is what the free version does. If I wanted to add other lines, and let’s say that I’m a pitcher or a golfer, you can add another line. I can call that a golf line. And then I’d be able to make a line between my shoulder and my front foot for example if I wanted to add that measurement to see how my body aligns. When I think my shoulder’s right over my foot, if it’s really two degrees off, and I start working on it and then it’s one degree off, it’s going in that direction. It’s a way of bench marking the accuracy of your perception and of the way your body is to the truth of where your body is.
Dr. Weitz: Cool.
Dr. Weiniger: And you can then if you want to save it and I’ll just put it into a case, and hopefully this is nobody that I don’t want to show you. Within that case, I can look at an image and compare Harry today to Harry yesterday. Or in the pro version, I can generate a report to compare that to prior images. No. Sorry, I can add that to prior images and move backwards. There we go. Where I can do a checkoff. You can see that and get a report and then I can generate that report … And the report disappeared. I can’t do this backwards very well. There it is. I can generate that report and that report that has those images as well as the deviations of where the body is in space. And the cool part for consumers, if you’re looking for a professional near you, on the bottom there’s a locator for CPEP so they can find somebody that’s in their area and now you know where I live, but where there’s a CPEP near them. And that is someone that if they want to work with a posture professional that can take a picture of their posture and help them to do exercises to strengthen their posture.
And that’s the idea behind posture month. People have to become aware of their posture ACE, A is awareness. Next part is C, control. Do exercise to strengthen your posture and professionals work with people from a clinical point of view, especially, really strong posture exercises to strengthen how people move. Other things like yoga, Pilates, are also what I call controlled motion exercises and they can help posture, but the external posture exercise have the advantage of being able to be very, very targeted to help someone’s weaknesses and strengthen their weaknesses especially when there’s been a problem that needs any kind of rehab.
Dr. Weitz: You know, another thought about using this and I just started to incorporate this app, is insurers, third party payers, want to see objective measurements of the improvement that we achieve with our treatments and we know our patients feel better, but simply having a patient who says, “I’m in pain.” And then saying, “Now I feel better.” That’s not very objective, of course, we use these zero to ten pain scales that the patients fill out and that’s a little bit of objectivity, but it’d be nice to have something like this that we can include in a report to either an insurer or on a personal injury case to show some objective improvement. So, I think this is pretty cool for that idea.
Dr. Weiniger: I’ve personally had adjusters that we’ve worked with and they said, “You know what, when you showed me the picture of what the person looked like the first time they came in and what they looked like a few weeks later after that, it makes it very real. People unlike online texts, that’s not real. A picture of you in eye when you see somebody talking that’s much more real.
Dr. Weitz: Yeah.
Dr. Weiniger: And then you have someone standing against an objective, that’s more real.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, so once somebody identifies that they have poor posture or once a practitioner whose maybe has gone through your program identifies somebody with postural issues, how do you go about correcting those?
Dr. Weiniger: The first thing you do is you take a picture so you benchmark where you’re starting from because it’s not necessarily correcting, it’s strengthening. My best review of this is almost certainly gonna be different because we have different genetics and we treat our bodies differently along the way. And your body is not gonna be balancing the exact same as somebody else’s, but having an awareness of how you’re balancing at the beginning. To strengthen balance you want to strengthen each of what are called the three elements of balance. How your body is aligning, how your body is balancing, and how your body is moving. And basically those words balance, alignment, motion or BAM, are what we talk about in my book Stand Tall and Live Longer and the posture exercises are what CPEPs and other professionals teach their patients and teach people and it’s often trainers and massage therapists that teach people how to do postural exercises.
For posture month, there’s a number of balance exercises we’re putting out every day and for each week, we’re going to be focusing people on one exercise. So week one, we’re focusing people on an alignment exercise, it’s really easy. Go to the wall, walk til your back’s against the wall. Remember when you were in school they told you that you should be able to line up your shoulders, your feet with shoulders, your feet, your butt, your shoulders and your head against the wall and be straight. Did they have that when you were in school?
Dr. Weitz: Well I remember doing that after the air raid drills.
Dr. Weiniger: Okay, same thing.
Dr. Weitz: Like that will really protect you if a nuclear bomb strikes near your school.
Dr. Weiniger: In my school, they had us hiding under the desk.
Dr. Weitz: Oh, okay. Like that’s gonna help you.
Dr. Weiniger: What does help you is connecting your perception of your body with how it really is. Going to the wall, stepping one foot away from the wall with your feet parallel, leaning your butt against the wall and your shoulders against the wall, and then really lock in. Look straight ahead. Keep your head level. And try to keep your head level, that’s the must. And move it back towards the wall. If your head can’t touch the wall, and keep it level then that’s saying that you’ve got some distortion where your head, torso, and pelvis aren’t lining up ’cause if you take your feet away, you should be able to align head, torso and pelvis unless there’s something holding something forward. The strong posture exercise all use what’s called the must versus try killing. The must in this exercise, keep your head level. If someone says, “Yeah, I can touch the wall.” But the head’s not level, they’re not doing the must. And if you can’t touch the wall, the exercise is quite simple, go as far back as you can, but keep it level. Keep your head level as you pull it back.
It’s similar to the turtleneck that some people teach from an exercise point of view, but it’s more effective because if you take your feet away from the wall, you’re reducing some of the impact of the solace on the upper lumbar and lower thoracic spine and it makes easier to isolate the real cause for that particular posture distortion. And so practicing keeping your head level, pushing it back and doing that with your breaths. So, doing it for what we call five slow breaths. Breathing in, letting your head come forward, breathing out, pushing it back to the wall. And you’ll notice by the third or fourth, you can get a little bit more play if you’re doing it right when you’re stretching the tight link of the chain. Doing that twice a day for a couple of days, you may find that you start to find it easier to keep your head level, which is what we’re trying to do, to open the body up, which opens up the second week of posture month, which is the first balance exercise.
And the first balance exercise is holding your best strong posture and balancing by lifting one leg up so your thigh’s parallel to the ground and holding it for five slow breaths, and then repeating it on the other side. And doing that just three times a day, just dialing in to standing tall and you can’t see me now, but I’m lifting leg up because if I lift my leg up, and my body is going like this and I’m twisting, I’m not strengthening the muscles of my posture. You want to first do alignment so you have an awareness of what standing tall feels like and then hold that feeling, lock that awareness in, and then challenge it by lifting one leg up. And as you know from a rehab exercise point of view, the way you strengthen something is by challenging it. That’s the second week. Do that a couple times a day, second week.
The third week of posture month, we’re coming out with the first motion exercise, sitting on a ball and just like you would sit at work, sitting really tall and trying to only move your pelvis. So instead having to focus the head, torso posture zone, we’re moving the focus back to the torso, pelvis posture zone. The key is moving the ball making three circles to the right, three circles to the left, but there’s two musts here. One must is don’t move your knees. The second must is don’t move your torso. So you’re sitting tall, you’re not moving your knees or torso, the only thing left to move is your pelvis. It sounds really easy, but it’s way harder than it looks, especially when you try to make a circle to the right, many people that have any kind of an issue will quickly notice that their circle isn’t round, but there’s a lack spot in their motion where they’re not able to control something actively in that arc. And what they’ll also find that if they make three circles to the right and three circles to the left, the inaccuracies of motion, the kinks, the things that are locked, that they didn’t know that were not moving, are not the same on both sides. And it’s been not able to be recruited and used when you’re really focusing on it when you’re not focusing on it, when you’re doing a bunch of other things at the same time, you’re not gonna be using it and that’s why there’s this prior protocols that become so powerful that isolate and strengthen the weak link in each individual’s movement connect chain.
Dr. Weitz: What do you say to patients who say, “You know, why do I need to do these dorky exercises? I’m already going to the gym and I’m doing squats and deadlifts. I’m doing one of these other exercise programs where I’m lifting all these free weights. Why do I need to sit on a ball?”
Dr. Weiniger: Because exercise is good, but exercising effectively is far more important. If someone … I remember going to the gym and seeing guys that were bench pressing 250 pounds and they were doing it by lifting their head up, rolling their shoulders in, and bouncing it off their chest. And just saying, “I’m benching 250.” And especially, those guys, if you try to go over to them and say, “Try doing this with tight form.” Their response is, “I can’t lift as much, and the only thing that’s important is how much I can lift.”
Dr. Weitz: Of course.
Dr. Weiniger: And that’s not good. If actually, you’re a chiropractor and you want to take care of patients, it’s great for business, but it’s lousy for people’s bodies. All motion begins with your posture. All motion ends with your posture, and that’s why the awareness part becomes so important. If in your awareness, you think standing tall is standing like this, when you exercise all of your exercises is gonna be like that. If you’re a golfer, if you golf, golf begins with the address position where you’re getting set up, standing tall and then you’re … That’s what every pro that I’ve ever spoken to tells you to do. It’s when you think you’re standing tall in an address position, you really adapted in some subtle way like those silly ball things that we just talked about that you said, then you’re going to be taking those in asymmetries into whatever that larger motion is. The only way you can strengthen the subtltees is to focus on only them. When you’re doing big macro motions, you can’t be aware of the small subtltees. Your body thinks in whole motions, not individual muscles. Start focusing on the subtltees and such incredible power, both from a pain point of view as well as from a performance point of view, as well as how other people see it. Because the other part we need to talk about is when your training well, people look at you better.
Dr. Weitz: Are people actually making themselves worse by exercising in poor posture, and reinforcing that posture?
Dr. Weiniger: I’ll go back to what you said at the beginning. When a patient comes into you and they say, “Doc, why am I hurting? I’ve been going to the gym, I’m doing all this stuff, but this happened. What happened?” Because what you think you’re doing may not be what you’re really doing and everything that you do always begins with the posture. That’s why if you want to exercise effectively, you want to begin with effective posture. And there’s been number of studies that have demonstrated that training bodies to move towards greater symmetry with greater accuracy makes a big difference in back pain. In fact, if you recall, last years guidelines both care of both acute and chronic lower back pain from the American College of Physicians said that surgery a lot of times is not good, opioids, not good, and they said things like Advil are not as highly recommended as they used to be and there should be alternatives like spinal manipulation, which chiropractors have been saying thank you very much, but also motor control exercises. That’s exercise really looking at the starting piece of motion. That’s precisely what the strength type exercise I designed to do.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, so do you tell somebody … Let’s say somebody comes in, and their posture is pretty bad. Do you tell them to stop all their other exercise until they can correct their posture or do you tell them maybe while they do their exercises, try as much as you can to get into a better posture?
Dr. Weiniger: And the better posture is what they’re learning to feel when they’re doing the strength posture exercises. Especially, if they’re working with a CPEP. But because if they’re coming in clinically, you want to be not creating more pain, not creating more tissue damage. So, you may possibly pull back from some of the exercise, and you may increase other exercises depending upon the person’s clinical story, the person’s exercise and their functional ability. That’s why we have the must versus try protocol becomes so powerful because we let you tailor it to their functional ability. The exercise is a test of what they can do functionally, which is then teaching them how to do in a way to strengthen the weak in their mechanic chain. So, in general, if you’re exercising, you want to work out quickly how to get the most benefit out of your exercising. That’s what a professional can help you do.
Dr. Weitz: Now, you talk about strengthening and balance, but what about stretching? So Let’s say you have this sort of rounded shoulder, forward head posture that you see in a lot of people and certainly strengthening the romboids and the middle and lower trapezius and some of the intrinsic neck muscles are important, but don’t you need to stretch out some of these shortened muscles in the front as well?
Dr. Weiniger: Absolutely, and that comes back to the point at the beginning. It’s not one thing, it’s everything. It’s like which tire on the car is most important? The left front, or the back rear? You’re going 60 miles an hour on the highway, you don’t want any of them to blow out. And if one blows out, the whole system doesn’t work the way its supposed to. In terms of correction, very very commonly someone’s gonna have a short pectoralis, more likely a short pectoralis minor, coracobrachialis, which the muscle underneath that is another really, really common shortness that’s missed because if you think about it, if there’re different layers of muscles, which there are, if the superficial muscles are tight, then other parts are gonna move differently. If the short muscles are tight, the muscles closer to the center of action of rotation of each joint, then nothing around that is gonna be able to move and you can stretch the superficial mussels out all day long, but you’ve gotta also get the deep ones. That’s why the pattern can be really different for different people.
And it’s what you just did, it’s not just open up what’s on front, it’s simultaneously strengthening what’s in back, but it’s not just the front and the back because when we did this, we also unfold the torso pelvis a little bit. We lean towards the back. So, if there’s an imbalance between torso and pelvis, that’s gonna keep on pushing it forward and you can try to open this up, but you’re gonna have to do something else to compensate. Posture is a whole body phenomenon. It’s not just your head, it’s not just your back, it’s literally how you balance your body. And that’s why the balance exercises are so key to strengthening posture.
Dr. Weitz: And what’s the role of chiropractic in this?
Dr. Weiniger: Tremendous. Chiropractic’s main goal of focus began with spinal manipulation, which is working on the segments of the spine, the vertebrae of the spine to restore motion and to allow more normal neurologic function because the spine houses the spinal column and that connects the brain to the muscles and then the nerves. And if those are not moving well, if there’s not accurate information coming to the brain, it means the way that you think you’re moving is even less likely how you’re moving. From a biomechanics perspective, if there’s a locked link in the chain, so my hands should be moving like this, and my fingers are not moving, it’s gonna move like that. That’s gonna put more stress on one joint, more exercise on one joint, and less on others. The same thing happens in the spine where one spinal segment is working more, breaking down more, getting more exercise at one level, and less at others and that imbalance then drives how everything else is moved. So the combination of chiropractic spinal manipulation with strong posture exercise is like this.
Dr. Weitz: Right. For those in the audience who aren’t really familiar with what chiropractic does is, one of the core factors treatments of chiropractic that really no other professional really does effectively is the manipulation or adjustment and it sounds like your understanding is similar to mine, is we’re trying to find those particular joints in the body, whether they be spinal, or extra spinal, in the shoulders or elbows or knees or wherever, and making sure all those joints are moving freely in all those different directions that they’re supposed to move in. For example, your spinal joints are supposed to bend forwards and backwards and side to side and rotate and we’ve gotta make sure they’re doing all those motions so that you actually can attain the type of posture and maintain that type of posture.
Dr. Weiniger: Exactly, and I talked about the spine, because you said where chiropractic began, but from a perspective of postural rehab perspective, we also want to be … A good chiropractor to me addresses all of the links in the kinetic chain because if you’ve got a problem with your big toe. I drop a cinder block on your big toe, your posture when you walk is gonna go to heck ’cause it’s gonna hurt and you’re gonna adapt to it. So a good chiropractor should be able to address all the links in what we call the kinetic chain. It’s the body how to move symmetry, how to move with greater symmetry. In other words, a chiropractor unlocks motion, stimulates neurology to function more accurately, but if you don’t retrain the body to move more accurately, it’s gonna keep ongoing back to the old patterns. The chiropractor unlocks and restores motion, strong posture exerciser retrains that motion. They both fit together.
Dr. Weitz: One more question. Is there a role for nutrition in promoting posture?
Dr. Weiniger: Oh, absolutely. If your body doesn’t have the materials that you need from a biochemical basis to function, it’s gonna function adaptively. Everything from enough water, which is something that is one of the underrated issues with a lot of people with lower back pain, to enough calcium, to other things like functional medicine that you can use to stimulate or to decrease how different things are functioning to address it. Our bodies are not just biomechanical, it’s not just nutritional, it’s both working together. As well as, biopsychosocial or attitudinal or mind or emotional, however you want to phrase it. Your head space, your attitude, will affect your posture and effect your health, and effect your biochemistry. They’re all together as mind, body, and spirit, which is kind of how chiropractic began once upon a time and it’s cool seeing more things go in that direction now.
Dr. Weitz: There you go. That’s kind of a evangelical saying from the posture evangelist. With a prayer here.
Dr. Weiniger: It’s funny because as you’ve noticed, I’ve got … I wear a number of different hats, and I’ve been at different boards and I didn’t want it to sound stuffy. I wanted to make it more of a fun thing to engage people and that was literally put out there as a kidding around and some people started banting it around and it became kind of what it is, but it’s true. Posture can make a big difference in your life. The posture month. Be aware of your posture, take control, engineer for a strong posture environment and next year recheck and see how you’re doing. And all the time, do basic posture exercises. You have a problem, see someone that can help. And the Posturezone app lets you check it and will help you find somebody.
Dr. Weitz: Cool. And so for listeners who want to get a hold of you, what’s the best way for them to contact you or get ahold of your book and learn about your programs?
Dr. Weiniger: From a public point of view, Stand Taller Live Longer, is the website for the book because that’s the name of the book. From the public point of view, Bodyzone.com, is where public information is. In the professional point of view, Posture Practice is where we teach people how to be CPEPs to strengthen people’s posture and from everyone’s point of view, download the Posturezone app. And all of those sites have ways to contact us that they can get a hold of me.
Dr. Weitz: Sounds great. Thanks, Steve. Keep spreading the word.
Dr. Weiniger: I appreciate it. I very much enjoyed it. Thank you.
Dr. Weitz: Okay, I did too. Talk to you soon.
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